The blog of photographer Kim Ayres

2020 in Photographs and Videos

Every January, I put up a post of my favourite photos from the past 12 months, along with any behind-the-scenes videos that might have been created. Last year was an exception when I did my most meaningful images from the previous decade, but back to normal this year (and don't most of us desperately hope for that!?).

You can find earlier years' selections here: Decade Review20182017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009

Of course this past year has been anything but normal for my photography. For the last 9 months the majority of my photographic experience has been expressed through the weekly, live video podcasts, Understanding Photography with Kim Ayres, which began shortly after Covid 19 hit our shores and Lockdown was initiated.

However, that hasn't meant the camera has stayed in its case. There have still been a handful of commissioned shoots, as well as experiments, and oooh-that-looks-interesting-wheres-my-camera moments.

There's a varied selection, so hopefully something for everyone. I'm always interested in feedback, so if you'd care to leave a comment about which one(s) are your favourite, or any personal observations, it would be warmly appreciated.

Purple Sky
Looking down the high street in Castle Douglas at 5pm in mid-January. I had to rush in and grab the camera – the sky really was this colour.

One of the last photo shoots I did before Lockdown was a "vintage" shoot, working with a team from B20 Hair Salon in Dumfries. The final photos have yet to do the rounds on social media, but while Abbie was getting prepared for the shoot I was taking a few behind-the-scenes shots.

I love the first image where she was momentarily distracted and her face lit up with a wonderful smile. And in the 2nd image, I was trying out some lighting, and one of them didn't fire. Editing afterwards I dropped everything that was in shadow right down into the blacks.

Dumfries and Galloway Life magazine wanted to do a feature on Meg's fledgling baking business, Megalicious, that was on hold because of the Corona Virus pandemic. In addition to shots of her mixing and stirring ingredients, I decided to create a photo that might work as a cover image, out by the shed in the garden. It worked out well enough for D&G Life to use it for the cover of the June edition.

Maggie shot some behind-the-scenes video footage for me, which I then edited up into a wee video

For more about this shoot, visit this blog post:

Doorstep Portraits
As portrait photographers across the country, indeed the world, were unable to get jobs, but still had a desire to photograph people, a trend for socially-distanced doorstep portraits became a brief fad. I did a small handful myself. It was quite strange, yet liberating, not worrying about setting up lights, studios or fancy locations. Using only the doorway and natural light I was surprised how easy it was to get some lovely photos of families and couples.

It was also a wonderful opportunity to safely socialise and I don't think I ever spent less than an hour or two with anyone.

Maggie in a makeshift studio
About 2 days before the country went into Lockdown, we made a quick visit to Maggie's studio (about 10 miles from here) to grab some of her tools and materials so she could continue to make and explore her art even though we would be housebound. She set up a makeshift studio at the back of the living room for a few months.

When Covid-19 threw the whole of my business future into doubt, I began a weekly live video podcast on photography – Understanding Photography with Kim Ayres - which has now been running for 9 months. To set up this triple-selfie, I had my camera sitting on the mantelpiece behind my shoulder, and operated it via my tablet, which you can see my left hand touching.

Pip and Ell
Friends of my daughter, Meg, and daughters of my friend, Adam, Piper and Ella Booth set up a jewellery business - Pip and Ell - while stuck at home - primarily making earrings made of polymer clay. Desperate to take some interesting photos, but needing to be outdoors and socially distanced, I asked them if they fancied doing a shoot. They ended up creating giant cardboard copies of the bold and colourful shapes they used in their jewellery, and we did the shoot in their garden.

Our friend Holly Houston came over and shot some behind-the-scenes video footage for me, which I then edited up into a wee video

For more about this shoot, visit this blog post:

Wee Messy Crafters
Wee Messy Crafters is a children’s activities provider based in Dumfries and Galloway. Set up by Amey Turner, it provides crafts and messy play for children age 6 months upwards. I was asked to create a batch of photos, and was fortunate enough to be able to take advantage of a long spell of dry sunny days in the summer. Amey's 2 kids, along with 2 children of a close friend, had huge fun for a couple of hours, while I took the photos in the garden, making sure I was at least 2m away from everyone at all times.

Moody Black and White Plants
With a lack of faces to photograph, I had a go at trying out some of my moody-black-and-white techniques on some grasses and nettles in a wild patch in the garden.

Silver Wedding Anniversary at The Shed Café
A few weeks into Lockdown, a certain degree of cabin fever was starting to make itself felt. Every Friday morning, Maggie and I had been going out for a coffee, which would inevitably merge into lunch. It was a time to properly catch up, discuss ideas, plan futures and have time purely focused on each other in a way that doesn't happen so much in the house for some reason. Desperately missing this part of our lives I suggested we take our coffee out to the shed at the end of the garden as a way of being in a different space. The original idea was it would be once a week, but it was so lovely it very quickly became a part of our daily routine.

When our 25th Wedding Anniversary arrived in September, I thought a photo of the 2 of us would be a nice thing to have, and with the level of importance our "Shed Cafe" had acquired over the previous months, it became the obvious place to stage the shoot.

View From The Fridge
I did a short series of photography workshops for Spring Fling Online in the autumn, one of which was about self portraits. Needing an image to inspire ideas for participants I created a version of a shot I've seen variations of over the years. 10 second timer on the camera, with a flash in the fridge.

Mentoring Izzy
Izzy Leach is a young photographer who had applied to the “Emerge” mentoring programme run by Upland – the arts organisation also in charge of Spring Fling. When Upland put out a call for mentors I responded, and as well as offering advice and tuition, I helped and supported her to create her own narrative photography shoot. She had some brilliant ideas, and for the day enlisted her friend, Danna, who has been modelling for online life drawing classes since the pandemic began.

The shoot took part in a remote woodland on a misty day, with all the social distancing and Covid precautions in place. This was one of the behind-the-scenes photos I took of Izzy and Danna (before you get concerned, the camera angle makes them look closer than they actually were).

Izzy's photos have been in an exhibition at The Catstrand, but because of the circumstances, hardly anyone has had the chance to visit or see them, which is a real shame. However, she plans on putting them online soon, so do follow her on Instagram;


Misty Road
This was purely an opportunist shot when I was out on the shoot with Izzy. The sun started to break through the mist and I looked back down the winding road and loved the lines and light.

Sail Down River
Songwriter and community choir creator and director, Ali Burns, put together a song, Sail Down River, during the pandemic and wanted a video to go with it. I filmed some footage of her and some friends down at the beach (again, everyone was properly socially distanced), and took a few photos too.

Misty Silhouette
The sun was attempting to break through on a misty day. I wanted to try out photographing something silhouetted against the soft, creamy light, and was pleased with how this one turned out.

The Shed Café at Christmas
With The Shed Café playing such a prominent part in our sanity saving over most of the year, it only seemed right to decorate it with a few lights.

Mince Pies
During one of the Understanding Photography with Kim Ayres podcasts, Maya posted an image for feedback which had icing sugar coating latka. As we were entering Mince Pie season, I thought it would be interesting to try a couple of variations of mince-pies versions, which I was then able to feedback to the viewers on how it was done and the difficulties to watch out for.

I hope you've enjoyed my selection - please leave a comment below with any thoughts or observations, and let me know your favourite!

Wishing each and every one of you all the very best for 2021.


Viji said...

Happy New Year, Kim. Lovely collections.. Though covid got us all restricted, happy to note that you had some excellent assignments to work on and the best part of covid for me is your podcasts.. I know I sound selfish but I enjoy everyone of them and learn a lot out of these sessions. Loved the misty road.. Beautiful shot.. This will be my favourite and mince pies. Yummy and they are quite literally good enough to eat ��

I am sure 2021 is looking optimistic. Let's hold on to that positive thought and let us look forward for a healthier, wealthier and prosperous New year.. Thank you for mentoring me and that's the best ever happened in all my 49 years :D

Kim Ayres said...

Viji - Happy New Year! I'm delighted you're getting so much out of the podcasts and the mentoring :)
Thanks for letting me know your favourites!

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